MICI Q3: Administrator sentiment remains steady

2017 08 14 15 04 48 396 New Chart 2017 Q3 400

Despite concerns expressed in previous surveys about healthcare reform's effects on their operations, sentiment among radiology administrators remained mostly steady in the third quarter of 2017, according to the latest figures from the Medical Imaging Confidence Index (MICI).

The latest MICI numbers show no major changes compared to figures from the second quarter of 2017, when many administrators expressed reservations about efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). At that time, some administrators reported that they were slowing their investments in people and capital equipment, while others noted a decline in patient visits.

Figures for the upcoming quarter largely track with recent periods, however -- even as ACA repeal went down in defeat in the U.S. Senate in late July. For all MICI categories, there was no statistically significant difference between the Q3 and Q2 numbers.

The Medical Imaging Confidence Index is derived from survey responses of imaging directors and hospital managers who are members of the AHRA, the association for medical imaging management. Market research firm the MarkeTech Group queries members of the MICI panel for their impressions of five important trends faced by radiology administrators in the upcoming quarter to provide a barometer of their sentiment about near-term business prospects.

For the 2017 third-quarter data, MICI surveyed 159 participants from across the U.S., with 14% based in the Mid-Atlantic region, 14% in the South Atlantic region, 7% in the East South Central region, 22% in the East North Central region, 15% in the West North Central region, 12% in the West South Central region, 5% in the Mountain region, and 11% in the Pacific region.

Participants were asked to rate their optimism about five topics, and a single composite score including all five categories was also calculated. Scores ranged from 0 to 200 and can be interpreted as follows:

  • < 50 = extremely low confidence
  • 50 to 69 = very low confidence
  • 70 to 89 = low confidence
  • 90 to 110 = an ambivalent score (neutral)
  • 111 to 130 = high confidence
  • 131 to 150 = very high confidence
  • > 150 = extremely high confidence

As in past surveys, administrators showed the most optimism that their internal operating and staff costs would remain constant, with a mean score of 131. They were also confident that their facility will maintain/grow as a profit center, with a score of 129, followed by confidence in their facility's ability to grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional imaging, with a score of 115.

MICI scores by topic for Q3 2017
Topic Mean score Interpretation
Internal operating and staff costs will remain constant 131 Very high confidence
Will maintain/grow as a profit center 129 High confidence
Will grow monthly in diagnostic and interventional radiology 115 High confidence
Composite score across all areas 110 Neutral
Will have access to capital for imaging equipment and IT needs 100 Neutral
Will receive adequate reimbursement from Medicare for diagnostic and interventional imaging 81 Low confidence

MICI scores for the third quarter of 2017 and their relationship to the previous eight quarters are shown in the following chart.

MICI Q3 2017 results

Administrators were less optimistic in their outlook for accessing capital for imaging equipment and IT needs, with a score of 100, a score that MarkeTech classifies as "neutral." The MICI composite score across all five topics was 110, also representing a neutral outlook. At the low end of the scale, confidence in getting adequate reimbursement from Medicare came in at 81.

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